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Comment: Re:Without a phone? (Score 3, Interesting) 53

by R3d M3rcury (#47421599) Attached to: The Future of Wearables: Standalone, Unobtrusive, and Everywhere

I think it's doable, depending on what you want it to do. Considering you example of the Casio Data Bank 150, about the only thing that needs Internet access would be the scheduler for keeping your calendar in-sync. Personally, I'd drop the phone directory because I have that on my phone. Calculator, stop watch, alarm, etc. are all doable without the Internet.

If the watch is something you glance at ("Whoops! Time for my 2:00 meeting!") or use momentarily ("What is 17% of $7392?"), I don't think there'll be a problem with battery life. But if the theory is that my smart watch will replace my smart phone, I don't think so.

Comment: Re: i dont see a problem here (Score 1) 146

by R3d M3rcury (#47390781) Attached to: NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever


Look, I agree with you in a long term sense. But the United States didn't have the capability of putting people into space between about 1975 and 1981. Somehow we survived as a nation for those six years.

Some of the issue I have with these things are launch costs eating up NASA's budget. I'd far rather see NASA farm out Low-Earth Orbit flights to Space-X and the like than have them waste taxpayer money on their own system which is only "just as good" yet costs twice as much.

Now, that said, this sort of research is interesting. To draw an analogy, there's the old--and untrue--saw about NASA developing a pen that can write in zero G where the Soviet Union used a pencil. To use Space-X as an example, their solution to building a rocket that will carry 50 tons into orbit is to add more engines. NASA's solution is to figure out how to build a more powerful engine. Space-X's solution is quicker and cheaper but it doesn't necessarily improve the state of the art. I like to see my tax dollars going into this sort of research and development that could be used by American companies 10 or 20 years down the road.

Comment: Re:Summertime fireworks (Score 1) 329

by R3d M3rcury (#47381089) Attached to: On 4th of July:

By the time it's dark enough to effectively set off fireworks it's well past kids bedtimes and noise becomes a large consideration.

Depends, obviously, on where you are.

Here where I live in southern California, fireworks start about 9:00 and sunset is around 8:00. I grew up seeing the fireworks in New Hampshire, where they would start the fireworks at 9:30 with sunset around 8:30.

Not being a parent, I don't know if 10:00 is particularly late when sunset is around 9:00. I can't imagine that small children would want to go to bed when it's still light out.

Comment: Re:Maybe the FAA should inform the stewardesses (Score 1) 128

by R3d M3rcury (#47373573) Attached to: FAA's Ruling On Smartphones During Takeoff Has Had Little Impact

I would imagine (a) it's a St. Maarten's thing--nobody wants to take a picture of landing at O'Hare and (b) there are so many people who have camera phones as their primary camera that it's easier for the flight attendants to just say, "No photos" than to say, "Only those people using stand-alone cameras can take pictures--no cell phone cameras."

Comment: Re:meanwhile in the rest of the world (Score 3, Insightful) 128

by R3d M3rcury (#47373551) Attached to: FAA's Ruling On Smartphones During Takeoff Has Had Little Impact

Sigh. Not this again.

Airplanes don't fall out of the sky because, first, there's a pilot on board to think about what his instruments are telling him. Second, airplanes usually have back-up systems for important stuff.

NASA has a voluntary database of in-flight incidents. There are issues related to "Passenger Electronic Devices" (Event Type category is "Flight Deck/Cabin/Aircraft Event" and value is "Passenger Electronic Device") that don't cause the plane to crash. However, it can affect aircraft radios used for navigation and voice communication and, on rare occasions, will cause the autopilot to disengage--assumedly due to odd signals being received from the above.

So the whole, "I don't know of any planes that have crashed because of a cellphone call" doesn't mean there isn't interference. It just means that the pilots handle it--sometimes by having the Flight Attendants re-check to make sure that people have turned things off. I remember reading about a pilot who got a signal that one of the cargo doors had opened while at 30,000 feet. He ignored it because if that signal had been true, he'd also see a whole bunch of other warnings about depressurization and the plane would probably be acting strangely.

Recently a Maysian Airlines flight went missing. You may have heard about it in the news. Nobody can understand why the pilots would have deviated from their course and had trouble communicating...

Comment: Re:That's great (Score 2) 75

by R3d M3rcury (#47330219) Attached to: NASA's Orion Spaceship Passes Parachute Test

Well, that depends on how the mission plays out. You may be able to mate it with a Falcon 9 to get it off the ground and pair up with another system already launched into orbit aboard a Falcon Heavy.

Remember that Apollo used one big rocket because that was the quickest way to get to the Moon. It wasn't necessarily the best idea...

Comment: Re:Help!! (Score 3, Informative) 75

by R3d M3rcury (#47330193) Attached to: NASA's Orion Spaceship Passes Parachute Test

As I understand it, Orion is sort of the equivalent of the Apollo CM. It was not cancelled.

However, what I believe the administration wants to cancel is part of the SLS (Shuttle Launch System) which would lift the Orion capsule into orbit--sort of the equivalent of the Saturn 1B that was used to launch Apollo capsules into earth orbit for Skylab and Apollo/Soyuz missions.

I believe the heavy-lift version of SLS--sort of analogous to the Saturn 5--is still funded for the asteroid missions.

Comment: Re:I see a problem here... (Score 1) 380

by R3d M3rcury (#47328203) Attached to: New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

It costs less than pretty much anything else you can think of, with the exception of tap water in locations where tap water is common.

I'm not sure I'd call gas "cheap", but I remember when it went down in price back in the '80s.

"Dump the milk, Louise. The cat's getting unleaded from now on!"

Comment: Re:Broken window fallacy (Score 1) 455

by R3d M3rcury (#47268443) Attached to: NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

"and significant tax revenue for local communities" is true whether or not the factory owns the dealer, as the local branch of a factory-owned dealer likewise pays property, income, and sales tax.

Car dealers take up more property than, say, Tesla showrooms. Figure that a Tesla showroom usually has a few cars on display in the nice, climate-controlled, showroom and a few cars parked in the lot for test drives. You aren't walking into a Tesla showroom and driving out in a brand new Tesla. Since your property tax relates to how much property you have, these showrooms pay less property tax.

I remember there was some local pain when GM closed down Pontiac and Saturn dealerships and, suddenly, some nice property taxes stopped coming in from those dealerships.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS